Andy Warhol, ‘Flowers’, 1964, Mark Moore Fine Art
Andy Warhol, ‘Flowers’, 1964, Mark Moore Fine Art
Andy Warhol, ‘Flowers’, 1964, Mark Moore Fine Art

The piece compares favorably both in terms of provenance and condition to the work the same size with the more common orange flowers that was sold at Christie’s New York: Thursday, May 14, 2015 [Lot 00424] Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale Session II for $413,000. USD.

This piece is a superior work to the one sold at auction and a particularly important and unique small Warhol painting in these ways:

1) Blue and/or Orange FLOWERS historically have commanded the highest sale prices at auction.
2) It is inscribed by Leo Castelli personally “From Leo With Love”.
3) It is stamped and documented by The Warhol Foundation.
4) It is in terrific condition.
5) It has Provenance from The Weisman Collection.

In 1964 Warhol embarked upon what would become one of his most successful and recognized series, the Flowers. Created in a variety of sizes and colours, these brilliantly coloured works were based on a photograph Warhol appropriated of hibiscus blossoms that had appeared in the June 1964 issue of Popular Photography. At this time Warhol was at the height of his creativity and international celebrity, and as David Bourdon writes, the "cheerful and refreshing Flowers series includes some of Warhol's most lushly colored, decorative, and ingratiating paintings" (D. Bourdon, Warhol, New York 1989, p. 191).

Initially, it was the well-known art critic and curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Henry Geldzahler, who suggested the idea of painting flowers to Warhol. In a sense, the Flowers pictures fit nicely in to a long art historical tradition of still-life painting. "With the Flowers, Andy was just trying a different subject matter. In a funny way, he was kind of repeating the history of art. It was like, now we're doing my Flower period! Like Monet's water lillies, Van Gogh's flowers, the genre" (Malanga, quoted in A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol, New York 2003, p. 74).

Warhol's modern day still-life is deliberately banal, artificial and captivating. The colours and shapes are quintessentially sixties and serve as an early symbol for the flower power generation, but simultaneously act as a record of Warhol attempting to create a truly, and universally "Popular" art. Dealer Ivan Karp recalls, "It was not an earthshaking photograph, but Warhol made a remarkable series of paintings out of it. Whatever, they were totally successful and we sold them all! And you could keep selling them right now! That's it. That's one of those immortal images. You know? He just found it. Right? It was a grand success" (I. Karp, interviewed in P. Smith, Andy Warhol's Art and Films, 1986, p. 358).

Signature: Artist initials and Warhol Foundation Stamp Verso. The work is in terrific condition and has superb provenance and a very special and unique dedication (inscribed by Leo Castelli “From Leo with Love” on the back).

G. Frei and N. Printz, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings and Sculpture 1964-1969, New York, 2004, vol. 02B

Collection of the Artist
Leo Castelli Gallery, NY, NY
Macia Weisman, Los Angeles
C&M Arts, NY, NY
Private Collection, Los Angeles

About Andy Warhol

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, based in New York, NY, United States